By far the biggest controversy to come out of yesterday’s NFL opening Sunday was the non-catch by Lions receiver Calvin Johnson in the end-zone that would have won the game against the Bears.
Johnson caught the ball, got two feet down, came down with his body all while maintaining control of the ball. But when the ball collided with the turf it squirted out.
It certainly passed the eye test when it comes to what is and what isn’t a catch, but NFL officials correctly ruled it an incompletion. Many are calling for the competition committee to review the rules on what constitutes a catch. For those of you interested, the official NFL rules state…
“If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If the ball touches the ground and the player loses control, the pass is incomplete.
From there, the player must get up with possession of the football and hand it to an official. A Polaroid picture must then be taken of the player handing the ball to the official and someone holding a newspaper with the day’s date clearly visible, or else it is ruled incomplete.
The player must then take said picture and sign it, get the quarterback to sign it, have the entire offensive line initial, and have it notarized by the end of the game. The signed and notarized picture must then be mailed off with correct postage to the NFL’s head of officials or else the pass is ruled incomplete.
From there the player needs to receive the ball back from the official, again documenting it with the above photographing procedure, and then maintain possession for the rest of the game. If the player wishes to receive possession of
a new ball, a transfer request form must be filled out and approved before the next pass is thrown, or else the previous pass is incomplete.
The player must immediately after the game get a tattoo of the catch on his upper right bicep. He must also get a tattoo of the ball as an infant on his left pectoral with a caption that says “Love Forever,” or the pass is incomplete.
From there, the player must maintain a relationship with the football. Staying in contact with it and checking in by phone at least once a day. The player must attend all major events in the ball’s life, including graduations and recitals. The player must visit in person at minimum once a week or else the pass is by rule incomplete.
In the player’s will it must stipulate that the ball gets a quarter of his estate. All beachfront properties must be left to the ball, as well as any precious Hummel figures or the pass is incomplete.”
So as you can see, while the play was impressive, Calvin Johnson did not technically catch the ball.